When my oldest child was born, she had a tongue-tie. We have all heard the expression about being “tongue-tied,” but I honestly did not know it was a real thing. Well, it is. Tongue-tie is a condition that is present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. A short, tight band of tissue tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of one’s mouth. Typically, a person with a tongue-tie has difficulty sticking out their tongue, which may not seem like a big deal. The problem is that an untreated tongue-tie can have an adverse affect on a child’s speech development as well as negatively impact their ability to eat and swallow.
You can imagine the shock I felt when I was told that the reason my newborn baby was not “taking to” breastfeeding was because she had not learned how to suck in the womb. How did that happen? Isn’t it a given that all babies can breastfeed, practically the moment they are born? In an instant, the vision I had of bonding with my baby while nursing her was gone. I felt the loss deeply. It didn’t help that the sense of guilt set in almost immediately. How was I supposed to feed my daughter now? Emily was two days old when the tongue-tie was discovered and the thought that she had not been getting nourishment that whole time just broke my heart.
Fortunately, the hospital had a lactation consultant on hand and her first suggestion was that I start pumping to get my breast milk to come in. Since we had to wait to use the hospital’s pump, my husband went out and bought our own! To this day I still laugh at his exuberance in making that purchase. Even though it was a large investment to make, this new daddy wanted only to provide the best for his child. Little did we know just how many times our Medela Pump In Style double electric pump would pay for itself.
Once my milk started to come in, within days I was expressing so much I had to store it. At first, I would pump, stick a tiny tube to my finger tip with the other end attached to a syringe full of breast milk. I would then hold Emily and gently rub my finger on her tongue to get her to drink that precious nectar. It was a labour of love and it was then that I started to realize that not being able to breastfeed my baby, in the traditional sense, did not make me a bad mom. And it gave my husband a chance to feed Emily as well. Tube feeding took a long time, but as any parent will tell you, it’s more than worth the effort. Using the double pump sure did save us some time though. That said, we were relieved to learn from our pediatrician that the tongue-tie could be fixed. At two weeks of age, Emily’s tongue was clipped or freed. I cried when she took almost three ounces straight from the bottle within the first hour. It was a miracle!
Breastfeeding still did not come easy, but we continued to give it that old college try. I started to measure our success not by how many times Emily would latch on and hold that latch, but rather by the ounces she was gaining, one at a time and the number of diapers we changed. I kept a very detailed journey of how many times I pumped and how much milk I was able to express. Soon, I was not storing a lot of extra breast milk because my baby was drinking it! Emily was learning to suckle. It may have seemed strange to some, but soon our routine became to pump, then feed Emily through a bottle. The tongue-tie may not have been permanent, but it left a learning curve that was a little hard to catch up to. So, we offered our child the best of both worlds: breast milk via bottle. And you want to know something? We did this for almost a full year! The Medela Pump In Style double electric pump gave me the chance to do it this way and I even used it for my second child, six years later. Yup, it was that good. 🙂
As you can imagine, I have always been an advocate of pumping and using Medela, so when my niece Cierra had her first baby this past summer, I was so excited to be able to share the Medela Freestyle double electric pump with her! Being a young mom, she is on the go a lot, even attending classes and that made the Medela Freestyle the perfect model for her. It is small, portable and lightweight, but strong enough to support expressing milk several times a day. It can run on rechargeable batteries, which gives you 3 hours of pumping time and the best part is that you can use it hands-free! That is a feature I would have loved back in the day. Hands-free opens up your world and allows a mama to pump anywhere she wants and still do things that are important to her, like studying!
It is neat to see how Medela has grown with the times. Unlike my old pump, the Medela Freestyle has a digital screen that shares information like the pumping and let-down suction level (you can choose from level one to nine) and it will even remember your choice for the next session. Cierra has shared that the 2-Phase Expression technology is her favourite part. It actually imitates a baby’s natural sucking behavior by starting off with short, quick pulls until her milk starts to flow, then changes to a slower rhythm to finish the job. Unlike in my day, when pumping took a good fifteen minutes or more, Cierra is done in well under ten minutes. Now that is progress!
Seeing a new generation of mothers use a Medela breast pump speaks volumes to me. It has been close to fourteen years since I first laid eyes on one and they just keep getting better and better. It’s no wonder the Medela Freestyle double electric pump is a PTPA winner!
Have you ever used a breast pump before? How was your experience with it?
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Medela Canada and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.